Upset over gloomy headlines dominating the UK after its nasty divorce with the European Union following a disastrous Brexit vote last year, four Britons decided to spread positivity and cheer up many back home in their divided country by skydiving naked.

Pete Cheek, Gary Lincoln-Hope, Pete Sharwood-Smith and Olly Aylott aimed to set a world record for the highest naked dive as they jumped off a plane 22,400ft above a Kenyan beach near the city of Mombasa on Thursday (6 July) – without any clothes, with air temperature at around -18C temperature.

They said they were appealing for unity after the referendum campaign – when Britons voted to leave the EU on 23 June 2016 – and a botched 2017 general election.

The team started planning for the jump about six months ago, according to Reuters.

Although the Guinness Book of World Records does not have naked skydiving as a category it considers for awards, it is believed that the previous highest naked jump was 18,000ft, according to Jeff Dawson, founder of the US-based Society for the Advancement of Naked Skydiving.

Among the four skydivers, only Lincoln-Hope is reported to have done the stunt naked before. An ex-member of the elite British Parachute Regiment, he said he hoped to break the record for the largest number of people skydiving without clothes.

"The jump was colder than I was hoping. Everything was very numb," he said while talking about the 125-mile-per-hour wind chill factor.

Lincoln-Hope added that the team had about five minutes to descend to a level of 15,000ft to get normal oxygen, otherwise they would risk their ability to think clearly.

Naked British skydivers
British skydivers Pete Cheek, Gary Lincoln-Hope and Olly Aylot started planning for the jump about six months ago Reuters/Joseph Okanga

"The aim is to try and raise awareness about all things that are best about being British and being from Britain," Sharwood-Smith said.

"There has been a lot of anti-British sentiments in various parts in the UK recently. We just wanted to do something that being British is awesome actually. Britain is a fantastic place to grow up and to live... that's what it was about."

He also clarified that the team do not have any political affiliation.

"We're not allied to any political party, we just want to reinforce the positive aspects of being British and British people are known for doing silly things, especially after the pub," the 43-year-old said.

"England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland – we're all better together," he added.

Naked British skydivers
A naked British skydiver aimed to set a world record for the highest naked dive as he jumped off a plane 22,400ft above a Kenyan beach on 6 July 2017 Reuters/Joseph Okanga

Aylott, a mathematics teacher who was a surprise last-minute addition to the team, met the trio on the beach by chance just the day before their jump.

He said they are not really "prudish" like the general British population.

Cheek, 39, said he did the adventurous jump to honour the memory of his father, who he said often looked after their garden and did construction work naked before he died of cancer 10 years ago.

"He always said, 'do dangerous things carefully,'" Cheek told Reuters. "Kenya is a beautiful country and I thought some high-speed nudity would only add to the experience."

Naked British skydivers
A naked British skydiver controls his parachute as he skydives from a plane some 22,400 feet above Diani beach, near Mombasa, Kenya on 6 July 2017 Reuters/Joseph Okanga